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Ava’s Language

Ava has been having a lot of language advances in the past few weeks.  She’s getting better both at understanding us and using new words in the proper context.

After dinner nearly every night, we head to the park near us.  If you say, “Ava, do you want to go to the park?”  Ava understand what you’re asking.  If she’s barefoot she will grab her shoes for you to put on.  If she’s wearing shoes she’ll walk over to the front door and start trying to open it.


We’ve been leaving the park lately when it gets dark.  We explain to Ava that it’s getting dark and we point to the sky.  Jon says if you can hear the crickets it’s time to go home.  I say, when the street lights come on, it’s time to go home.  She used to cry when we would leave,


but now she looks at the sky and the street lights, so I think she understands that we’re not arbitrarily taking her away from the park.  I’m really looking forward to her understanding more of these explanations.

Speaking of shoes, Ava is still really excited about her shoes.  She talks about her “shoos” and her “boots” in the proper context.  It’s supposed to rain on Friday and I’m excited to see Ava jump in the puddles with her boots.


“Dada” has morphed into “dah” as if we were raising a girl from Maine.  She’ll often chatter and “dah” is mixed in there so she clearly has a strong opinion about her daddy.


Ava is adding to her repertoire of farm animals.  The rooster is a “cock-a” and Ava will recognize images of roosters and if you say the word “rooster.”  She still knows that the snake says “ssss,” the cow says “mooo,” and her horse says “neigh.”

Ava is trying to get Teddy Roosevelt to kiss the sheep


In addition to obsessing over farm animals, Ava is interested in parts of the body.  She will say “eye” and point at your eye.  Unfortunately, this is often after she stuck her finger up her nose, so make sure to keep your eye closed if she’s approaching you with that finger!

When Ava is impressed, she says “oooh” and her nanny said when she dropped something the other day, she said “uh-oh.”

Ava Tidbits

Yet again Ava shows me that her current stage is the best stage.  Lately Ava has been pulling up her shirt and asking you to tickle her. Then she runs away from you giggling.


Ava is obsessed with Teddy right now.  Poor Teddy had to go to the vet again because he was stung by bees.  All day Ava went to his kennel looking for him and saying “Ted-dy.”


On the way to the park, there are a bunch of grapes on a fence.  I used to pick a few for Ava each time we passed, but she realized that she can grab them herself.  I got a picture of her foraging.

We met a mom at the park whose son often plays with Ava when Ava’s nanny is taking care of her.  The mom said that when Ava comes to the park she brightens up the place with her smile and her giggles.  I can believe it!



We had some cold rainy days last week and I realized that Ava needed some rain boots.  She loves splashing in the water and so especially once the snow comes, she needs waterproof boots so she doesn’t get soaked.  Ava was so excited when I showed her the boots.  She kept them on all afternoon and now she says “boos.”


Utah State Fair

Last Sunday we went to the Utah State Fair.  We got there at 10:30 am on a Sunday, which was perfect because it wasn’t too busy.  By the time we left around 1pm there was a huge line to get in.  The fair had crafts, rides, food, and animals.


They also had a surprisingly racist Asian food booth.


We were there to show Ava the animals.  She had so much fun walking around trying to touch the animals.


She liked the goats best, possibly because she got the most exposure to them.  I wouldn’t let her touch the pigs or the cows too much because I kept envisioning her losing a finger.


Ava also loved looking at all the rides.  Since she loves mechanical things, she was very interested in watching the rides spin and twist in the air.  We considered taking her on some of the rides, but she’s so little it could be dangerous and she’d probably get mad when the ride stopped.  So instead we found this awesome food stand that sold roasted vegetables and we ate lunch on the grass in view of the rides.

Ava juts out her chin when she’s concentrating


I abstained from the deep fried Oreos.

Ava Is 16 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

This is the month that Ava walked.  She went from a month or two of only taking a few steps in succession to last Friday when she was walking and falling all day.  Now she walks everywhere and on everything: sand, grass, no big deal!  The biggest change is that Ava has a lot more say in what we do.  It doesn’t matter if Jon and I want to go to the park after dinner because Ava will walk down the street in the opposite direction.  If you pick her up and try to reverse direction, she will scream.


Ava’s into dancing.  She’s always enjoyed music and rocking to the music, but she’s been dramatically dancing on her feet.  The other day some kids were banging rhythmically on metal and Ava started dancing to the beat.


  • After Ava wakes up in the morning, she wants me, and not Jon, to take her out of the bedroom.  If Jon talks to her she pretends to be asleep so Jon won’t take her away from me.  It’s a good thing she’s been sleeping from 7:30-8:30 so it’s not too hard to get up.
  • I’m not sure if this should be categorized as part of independence, but Ava has developed an interest in large motorized vehicles.  She points and laughs when buses pass us.  One day we thought Ava was sleeping in her stroller until a fire engine passed us and she started ooohing.  Jon played a video of monster trucks moving around in the mud, and Ava was delighted.  She’s also been enjoying the vehicle-themed books I grab for her from the library.  I think this is more than a phase.
  • Ava has a sense of humor.  She does things and laughs about them.  She thought putting the dog’s cone* on her head was as funny as we did.


*Did you know this kind of collar is called an Elizabethan collar?  What a fancy name for a plastic cone.

Foods and Liquids

  • Ava loves tomatoes.  That means her favorite foods are pizza, pasta with red sauce, and fresh tomatoes from the garden.
  • She can eat a whole scrambled egg by herself.
  • Ava is eating a lot more now that she’s walking.



  • Ava is still taking much longer to go to sleep at night and she insists on me being the one to put her down.  If Jon tries she sobs until I join them, but then with the three of us she thinks it’s a party.  So it’s just the two of us at night indefinitely.
  • She might have a toddler bed soon because she crawled out of her crib one night.  I have it on the lowest setting instead of the second-to-lowest setting, but it’s only a matter of time.  She’s a great climber.


Language Skills

  • Ava says “Heeeey” or “Hello” to everyone she passes.  She’s so polite.  This month she learned “light,” “Ava,” and she tries to sing along with us or the radio.  I think music is going to be incredibly important to her.  She also requests to be tickled by saying something kinda like “tickle” and moving her fingers along her belly.
  • When Ava wants something she points at it and goes “Aaaahhh?”  It’s pretty helpful compared to when she would just cry because we didn’t know what she wanted.  All day I hear “Aaaahh?” as Ava talks to her nanny while I’m working upstairs.
  • Ava is learning all the noises for animals.  She says “doodle-doo” for a rooster (as in, cock-a-doodle-doo), “woof” for dogs, and when she sees a picture of a monkey she says “oo-oo” while scratching under her arms.



Ava is going through a huge mommy phase right now.  It’s probably because she’s teething (still).  Today is the first day I’ve been able to see some of the molar break through on the right side.  Molars are fucking brutal!  Yeah, I don’t normally swear on here, but a full month of Ava waking up screaming every four hours when her Tylenol wore off is bullshit.  Bullshit!  And this fucking chart basically says that the teething will continue in quick succession as the next three molars come in.



Okay, so the pestilence.  Last week I noticed Teddy scooting on the rugs, which is usually a sign that he needs his anal glands to be expressed.  STOP READING NOW IF YOU’RE SQUEAMISH.  On Saturday we took Teddy to the vet and the vet tech said the glands were empty and it was just some poop in the way.  Foreshadowing – dunh, dunh, dunnnhhhh.  On Sunday Teddy had a swollen area on his butt.  Seeing as it was Sunday, we waited until the next day to call the vet.


On Monday you could see that the swollen part had distended to include a pustule.  I called the vet and they couldn’t fit him in until Tuesday so I made an appointment.  A few hours later I checked on Teddy.  He was lying in Ava’s Burley, which is a bike carrier for babies that has a hammock-type section for the baby to sit.  Well this is odd behavior so I checked Teddy’s wound and it was an open sore of dripping pus…and the Burley was covered in dried blood.


The vet is awesome and was willing to see Teddy right away.  He had an infection deep up his butt.  They had to sedate him, place a drain to divert the pus, and close him up with a lot of stitches.  Today was the day to take him back to the vet to have the drain removed.



The appointment was for 2pm so I had to see Ava.  Ava insisted that I hold her.  She waved goodbye to her nanny, which is something she does frequently at 5:30 when her nanny leaves.  Sort of a, “Mommy is here, you can leave now.”  When she did it today, her nanny didn’t leave so she needed another tactic.  Ava pulled me down our sidewalk onto the main sidewalk and kept walking.  I think she decided that if she got me far enough away from the nanny she could have me to herself.  So cute!



The other pestilence is me.  Ava had a sniffle a few weeks ago.  It had manifested as the plague in me.  I thought I was finally getting over it, and now I’m developing a new illness that includes nausea and a fever.  I think if I had another baby, it might literally kill me.



I mentioned that Ava makes a shocked face when you flip a light switch.  This is close to the face she makes.  She’s so smart that she now says “light” and she even knows that street lamps are a “light” even though she hadn’t seem one light up.  I really really like this age.

This is pepper season!  Peppers taste best in my opinion when they’re stuffed with cheese, but they’re also pretty good stuffed with rice or vegan sausage.

(1) Chiles Rellenos

I’ve had chiles rellenos in restaurants before and I wasn’t impressed.  But making this at home was life changing.  The anaheim peppers are stuffed with cheddar cheese and coated with flour and egg.  The peppers are fried and topped with a spicy tomato sauce.  That link is to my own modified recipe.  The stakes are high when it comes to peppers so I make a recipe that I know Jon will enjoy.


(2) Stuffed Poblano Peppers

This is modified from a Blue Apron recipe.  Blue Apron sounds nice in theory, but I think they’re getting customers by having one fancy ingredient in each recipe.  In this case one of the ingredients was pepitas, but it turns out that’s just a fancy word for pumpkin seeds.  The most interesting thing about this recipe was discovering that garden poblanos are MUCH spicier than ones you buy in the grocery store.  I had to add sour cream to the dish just to eat it.


(3) Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers

I was surprised at how good this recipe was.  The sausage and cheese make a delicious filling.  It’s a really easy recipe too because you just fry the peppers and put marinara sauce on top.  I also used Hungarian wax peppers for Jon’s plate since banana peppers barely have a flavor.


(4) Bell Pepper Pizza

I know pizza is a bit of an unoriginal option, but I haven’t listed it for the other garden vegetables, even though zucchini and goat cheese pizza is quite nice.  I get the dough from Trader Joe’s and toss whatever vegetables are in excess that week.  This was a Greek pizza made with olives, red onions, green bell peppers, and feta cheese.


(5) Sweet Potato Curry

We have so many cayenne peppers right now, I think I’m going to have to dry them.  The weather is just too hot to make this curry.  But when the weather turns cool we can have this every week because it is delicious.  I used it last year with Thai chili peppers, but I think cayenne peppers will work just as well.


As a side note, I learned that it’s a bad idea to pan fry cayenne peppers.  The air was so thick with spice that both Ava and I were coughing until I cleared out the room.


Ava’s personality is really developing.  She has a new obsession with shoes.  It started a few weeks ago when she insisted on wearing red velvet shoes that I had bought her for Christmas.  They barely fit, but they looked so cute!

Ava also enjoys going through her diaper bag.  She’s so nosy!



I bought Ava more shoes that fit her properly.  When she puts on these jellies, she often does a little dance.



It’s actually good timing that Ava wants to wear shoes because she also wants to walk with assistance to the park in the evenings.  We live in this fantastic neighborhood with a park a couple blocks away.  It’s really close until you help a baby walk to it.  Then it takes about 15 minutes to reach.  I’m so proud of her determination and I love the feeling of her little hands grasping mine.


Ava is obsessed with this park.  We often go there right after dinner.  About 70% of the time when we leave Ava will cry hysterically.  Now, her nanny usually takes her there during the week, so Ava’s not as deprived as she would have you believe.  The crying is more about Ava’s state, though.  Her bedtime has been somewhat fluid lately and one indicator that she’s ready for bed is that she gets irrationally upset over something.



Other aspects of Ava’s personality are that she now understands the mechanism of the light switch and she makes this cute shocked face every time you flip the light switch.  Also, she’s realized that she can get you to giver her something if she points at it and makes this little “ah-ah?” noise.  It doesn’t work for her 100% of the time, though, because tonight she requested that we pick up 20 different items in IKEA, which we did not oblige.

“Ah-ah? [Can you please bring me some metal to put in this outlet?]”


Wheeler Farm

I am loving this job, but boy are they giving me a ton of work!  I’ve been working more at night, which means fewer blog posts.  Fortunately it hasn’t affected our weekend Ava time.


Since Ava knows more words for animals than anything else (bird, duck, Teddy, kitty, moo, sss for snake, doo for cockadoodle doo), we took her to Wheeler Farm to see the animals in person.  It was like taking a tween to a Taylor Swift concert.  Ava shrieked with delight when she saw all the animals.  In this picture, she’s realized that cows are actual things in the world.



Ava really liked the goats.  Jon wouldn’t let her get too close, though, since a goat bit his arm the last time we were at Wheeler Farm.



Ava had a standoff with a rooster.  Not really.  This rooster kept crowing and Ava was fascinated.  You could inspire him to crow by making the rooster noises back at him.





Ava Is 15 Months Old

This girl!  She deserves a true update.  There have been so many changes in this past month.


Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava can go down a straight slide by herself.  Yesterday she slid down the slide by herself six times.  One of the times she finished sliding, she took three steps on her own.  I will admit, I was a little sad that she didn’t need my help anymore.
  • Ava can stand on her own for up to 20 seconds.  Last weekend she used it as a new wrestling technique.  She would stand in front of one of us and jump on us while growling.  She’s so tough.


  • One big change is that Ava wants to eat all her food herself.  I bought these great baby bowls at IKEA that are grippy on the bottom so it’s harder for Ava to move them around on her high chair.  She does great with spoons and she’s still working on mastering forks.
  • I expect that Ava will be mechanically inclined given her interest in how things work.  Today she mastered hammering.



 Foods and Liquids

  • I’ve been giving Ava a portion of our food and then I supplement with things I know she’ll like, such as fruit and carbs.  Ava is a huge fan of goldfish crackers.
  • Ava loves peanut butter.  We discovered this because she would take apart peanut butter crackers to lick off the peanut butter.  For dinner last night she had three tablespoons of peanut butter.  Yum!



  • Ava started taking a lot longer to go down at night.  One night she took almost two hours.  It used to be only 15 minutes.  Now Ava drinks half the bottle, plays for awhile, finishes the bottle, and falls asleep.
  • Once she’s sleeping it’s basically the same.  Sometimes she rolls back and forth between us, sometimes she cuddles with one of us.  About 80% of the time, she sleeps until 7:00 or 7:30.

Language Skills

  • Ava chatters a lot.  She’s good at repeating noises, and she’s especially good at mimicking songs.  She’s best at learning things related to Teddy.  Ava says Teddy, go, and today she started instructing Teddy to sit.

In addition to kale, we have a ton of zucchini from a single plant in our garden and squash from the CSA.  Zucchini has been heavily featured in dinners for the past month.  I have a top five list of favorite zucchini dishes too.  And!  I took a couple of pictures.  I actually had to put a reminder in my phone because once I finish making a meal I’m so excited to serve it that I forget to take a picture.

(1) zucchini muffins

Do you know about Smitten Kitchen?  If not, you should look at that website right now.  She has a great recipe for zucchini bread.  I make it into muffins because they’re easier to feed to Ava.



(2) fried zucchini / zucchini patties

These are two different recipes, but they’re so similar I grouped them together.  Fried zucchini is breaded zucchini.  Zucchini patties are a little bit lighter.  We eat them with applesauce and Ava loooves them.


(3) zucchini curry



I modified this recipe to replace chicken with zucchini and I used a lot more curry than they suggested.  I also used peppers from the garden, which is nice because we’re also exploding with peppers as well.  I made jalapeños poppers last week in part because it required 10 jalapeños.

(4) vegetable hash with poached eggs

This recipe is fantastic for getting rid of all the veggies in your fridge.  I use it to clear out all the extra stuff from our CSA.  For example last week I was able to sneak in an eggplant without Jon knowing, which is great because he hates eggplant.

(5) shaved zucchini with pine nuts and parmesan

This is a nice, quick salad and it’s a fantastic summer salad because it’s raw.

Based on all the green tomatoes in our garden right now, I should have another of these posts later in the month about tomatoes.

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